Oct. 12, 2011
Montage's Daly's Pub & Rec serves a mountain of good food
By Heather L. King
Deer Valley As the most recent addition to the Deer Valley resort properties, Montage has hired top-notch chefs and servers to deliver stellar cuisine to skiers and overnight guests at Empire Pass. Dalys Gastro Pub & Fun Haven offers not only fine pub fare, but also entertainment, in the form of bowling, darts, shuffleboard, arcade games, Wii, pool tables, and flat-screen TVs showing sporting events.
In true pub fashion, Dalys appetizers are hearty portions designed for sharing. The pretzel fondue ($12) features two fist-size chewy but soft pretzels delivered with a bowl full of warm cheddar cheese dip with an ale kick behind it.
The tempura-battered chicken tenders ($13) were moist and delicious, but from the appearance of this appetizer, our table kept expecting to bite into the tempura and find a flaky white fish. The sweet yet tangy honey-mustard dipping sauce (perfect for the chicken) just added to the mind-over-mouth confusion.
The secondary appetizer menu really these are side dishes offers a host of excellent choices. Local Beehive cheddar mac & cheese ($8) was creamy smooth and heavenly. The macaroni was cooked to exacting al dente tenderness and then bathed in cheese and finished with bread crumbs before baking. This side was enough to share among at least six people or solidly feed one person for an entire meal. (Portions of everything at Dalys are mountainous.)
Brewed by Wasatch Brewery, the Montage Mountain Ale battered onion rings ($8) came out as a stack of rings that were fried but not greasy. They had the perfect crunchy bite that went straight through the thick-cut onions, with the perfect ratio of batter and onion to each mouthful.
The only soup on the menu, Dalys French onion ($10), starts with a dark, rich, beefy broth and builds upon it with onions, baguette slices and finally a melty double layer of Irish cheddar and Gruyère cheeses.
For a healthier meal, the grilled salmon salad ($18) features an enormous fillet of gorgeous wild salmon accompanied by noteworthy beets, walnuts, goat cheese and an intoxicating sherry vinaigrette over the greens.
Highlighted as a pub specialty, the chicken pot pie ($18) was unlike any Ive eaten before. The ideal amount of flaky crust covered expertly poached chicken chunks and fork-tender celery, pearl onion, carrots and peas all cloaked in a savory thick, rich sauce.
Surprising for a pub of any sort, the sandwich section of Dalys menu is the weakest area in the otherwise standout cuisine. While the pub burger ($16) and pressed Cuban sandwich ($16) presented quality ingredients and voluminous quantity, the options were tasty but otherwise unremarkable. For $16 each, I would expect nothing less than grass-fed beef and aged cheddar on a burger or the finest pork and ham along with homemade pickles on my Cuban.
The shrimp po boy ($18) was a complete miss, as the highlighted roasted bell pepper mayo practically failed to make an appearance on the roll. The result was dry and dull breaded shrimp on top of cabbage and tomatoes. I ended up abandoning the sandwich entirely and subsisting on the mixed green salad instead.
Sandwich miscues aside, Dalys Margherita pizza ($15), cooked in the brick pizza oven behind the bar, was crispy, thin-crust perfection topped with tangy San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella.
For dessert, executive pastry chef Raymond Lammers touches on traditional selections such as apple pie ($8), showy items such as baked Alaska ($9), and inventive choices found in the smores sundae ($7) with chocolate ice cream, graham crackers and pillowy house-made marshmallows.
Service is knowledgeable and friendly with a knack for being seen only when needed.
While Dalys Pub & Rec prices might be considered ski resort exorbitant, this pub food sets the bar for quality and quantity worthy of the Deer Valley name.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.